Amgen will pay $71M to end state-level probe of Aranesp and Enbrel marketing

IndustriesAssociated Press

Biotech drugmaker Amgen will pay $71 million to settle an investigation into illegal marketing of its drugs Aranesp and Enbrel, ending an investigation by 48 states and Washington DC.

Less than three years ago, Amgen agreed to pay $762 million to settle a federal government inquiry into "off-label" marketing of the drugs. In December 2012 Amgen agreed to resolve allegations it marketed Aranesp for unapproved uses. Prosecutors said the company tried to convince doctors and patients they would save time if the anemia drug was administered just once a month, a promotion intended to help Aranesp compete with another drug. The company was also accused of unauthorized promotion of Enbrel and its anti-infection drug Neulasta, and of offering kickbacks.

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Tuesday's settlement agreement covered similar issues, including the dosing schedule of Aranesp, promotion of the drug as a treatment for anemia caused by cancer, and marketing of as a treatment for mild plaque psoriasis even though it's only approved for chronic moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.

Amgen Inc. reported $1.28 billion in U.S. sales of Enbrel, an immune disorder treatment, and $223 million in U.S. Aranesp sales in the second quarter.

The Thousand Oaks, California-based company said it is pleased to have resolved the matters and that it has a strong legal compliance program.